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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

Paisius

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

To those who wish to read and hear what is written in this story.

Paisius


My dear friends, the idea of writing this publication arose from the fact that in 2022 it will be 300 years since the birth of Paisius, 260 years since the creation of his most significant work - "History of Slavonic Bulgaria" and 60 years since his canonization as a reverend from the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.


...that wild Svetogorets – unfit for raya,

and flung stealthily through the darkness then

the very first spark in the popular consciousness.

From "Paisius"

Ivan Vazov


Monument to Paisius Hilendarski in the city of Bansko
Monument to Paisius in the city of Bansko

To know, to remember!

Paisius


He is the first Bulgarian alarmist!

Paisius is the waker who ignited the very first spark and laid the foundations of the Revival in the Bulgarian lands in those hard, long, cruel, unwelcoming, sad and so dark years of slavery!


Awakened a whole nation!


From today onwards, the Bulgarians have a history and it becomes a people!

From "Paisius"

Ivan Vazov


He restored the self-confidence of an entire nation just by writing a small book.


...but for the simple Bulgarians, I just wrote. I did not try to arrange the speeches according to the grammar and to arrange the words, but to put together that story!

Paisius


This is:


Историѧ славѣноболгарскаѧ ѡ народе и ѿ цареи и ѡ стыхъ болгарскихъ и ѡ въсехъ деѧнїа ї битиа болгарскаѧ


Also known as:


История славянобългарска


Monument to Paisius Hilendarski in the city of Bansko

And although this book is currently the object of special attention in all schools and there is hardly a Bulgarian who has not heard of it, let's ask ourselves the question, what do we know about its author?


Paisius (1722 – 1798)

Paisius himself writes about his birthplace in his book:

и пришедъша ва Светьiе гори Афонские у епархiи Самоковскiие въ лъто 1745 (came to Saint Mount Athos from the Diocese of Samokov in 1745).


A specific settlement is not specified.


And although the main contender for this today is the city of Bansko, I am obliged to point out that there are reports pointing to other settlements as his birthplace - Dospey, Ralovo, Belovo and Kralev dol.


The stone in the city of Bansko, placed on the site of the birthplace of Paisii Hilendarski
The stone in the city of Bansko, placed on the site of the birthplace of Paisii Hilendarski

Paisius' secular name was either Peter or Penko.


He was raised in the family of Mihail Hadjivalchev in Bansko, who is his stepfather.


One of his brothers, Lavrentiy, was abbot in "Hilendar".


Grandfather Lavrentiy, abbot of the Hilendar Monastery "Holy Mountain", Athos and brother of Father Paisius
Grandfather Lavrentiy, abbot of the Hilendar Monastery "Holy Mountain", Athos and brother of Father Paisius

His younger half-brother Valcho was a famous founder and patron of churches in the region, especially "Hilendar" and "Zograf".


Hadji Valcho - founder of the Zograf and Hilendar monasteries (monument in Bansko city park)
Hadji Valcho - founder of the Zograf and Hilendar monasteries (monument in Bansko city park)

"Hilendar" is a Serbian Orthodox monastery in Mount Athos, Greece. It ranks fourth in the hierarchy of the monasteries of Svetogorje. It is included in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. Old sources mention the monastery as early as the 10th century, associating it with the monk Georgiou Hilendarius, a monk from Mount Athos, whom they consider to be its founder and first founder.


Founder, also donor, is an honorific title for persons who donated land for the construction of a monastery, church or chapel. In the past, their images were depicted in the frescoes of the church built with their funds, as a sign of gratitude.


The wooden cross on the wooden church "Ascension of the Lord" in the Borovets resort

In those dark times in which Paisius was born and raised, probably the only way to get a good education was to enter a monastery.


And this is the reason why, in 1745, the 23-year-old young man became a monk in the Rila Holy Monastery, and then joined his brother in "Hilendar", where he subsequently became a hieromonk and prohiguman.


Blue sky with white clouds behind which sun rays stream

Young Paisius showed a great thirst for knowledge - he studied hard, although he did not study grammar or secular sciences, he gradually became a highly educated, well-read and spiritually elevated person.


These qualities of his greatly pleased the superiors of the monastery and they made him a taxidiot (monastery messenger).


At that time, "Hilendar" had the status of a Serbian monastery, but due to its location, the majority of its monks were Bulgarians from Macedonia.


A dirt road in the middle of green fields and the proud and old Balkan (Stara Planina) in the distance, veiled by white clouds
On the road...

During his many wanderings as an envoy of the monastery to collect aid and attract pilgrims, Paisius did not stop educating himself, getting acquainted with historical works on Bulgarian history from numerous medieval sources, which later served him to write his such a significant work.


He stayed in the homes of ordinary people. He watched them carefully. He studied them with particular interest.

Listened!

He cried!


The cross over the city of Panagyurishte against the backdrop of the Epiphany sunrise. The sky is red with black clouds

Gradually, Paisius began to realize the lack of self-confidence of the enslaved, oppressed, suffering, oppressed, oppressed and tortured Bulgarian people. A people willingly accepting a foreign language, foreign faith and traditions.


I was gradually eaten away by jealousy and pity for my Bulgarian family, that there is no collected history about the glorious deeds of the first times of our family, saints and kings.

Paisius


Realizing that these people had completely forgotten their glorious past, a desire gradually arose in him to awaken them from the slavish sleep they lived in, to tell them of their glorious kings, of the vast territories they ruled, and of their golden ages. , so that the Bulgarians know that they are not a nation without history.


And Christ himself came down and lived in the home of the simple and poor Joseph. See how God loves the simple and innocent plowmen and shepherds more and first of all he loved and glorified them on earth, and you are ashamed because the Bulgarians are simple and unskilled, both shepherds and ploughmen, you leave your race and language, you praise the foreign language and you drag yourself along according to their custom.

Paisius


He compares this lack of self-confidence with the obscene, outrageous, arrogant and even snobbish behavior of the monks of Athos, who considered the Bulgarians to be a simple, undivided and inferior people.


Read and know, so that you will not be mocked and reproached by other tribes and peoples.

Paisius


For the benefit of history

Guided by his awake Spirit and by the Word, the Hilendar monk began frantically searching, collecting and studying various historical information about the history of the Bulgarian family until its fall under the Ottoman yoke - about who we are and where we come from, which was by no means an easy task during those dark, unwelcoming, sad and painful years.


Reconstruction of the cell of Paisius in the Spiritual and Historical Center "St. Paisius of Hilendarski"
Reconstruction of the cell of Paisius in the Spiritual and Historical Center "St. Paisius of Hilendarski"

Paisius visited his brothers in the monastery of Sremski Karlovtsi in German land (at that time in the Habsburg Empire). There he became acquainted with the historical work of the Dubrovnik abbot Mavro Orbini and Caesar Baronius and with their exceptional information about the history of the Bulgarian race.


Mavro Orbini was a writer, translator, ideologist and historian, born around the middle of the 16th century and died in 1614. His book "The Kingdom of the Slavs" (Il Regno degli Slavi) greatly influenced Pan-Slavic ideology and historiography in the following centuries.


"The Kingdom of the Slavs" (Il Regno degli Slavi) by Mavro Orbini in the Spiritual-Historical Center "St. Paisius Hilendarski"
"The Kingdom of the Slavs" (Il Regno degli Slavi) by Mavro Orbini in the Spiritual-Historical Center "St. Paisius Hilendarski"

Caesar Baronius was born in the town of Sora, in the province of Frosinone in the Lazio region of central Italy, in 1538. In 1596, he was appointed cardinal and librarian of the Vatican Library by Pope Clement VIII. He is the author of a history of the church in twelve parts. The Russian translation from 1719 under the title "Acts of the Church and Citizen" was used by Paisius when writing "History of Slavonic Bulgaria".


Reconstruction of the cell of Paisius in the Spiritual and Historical Center "St. Paisius of Hilendarski"
Reconstruction of the cell of Paisius in the Spiritual and Historical Center "St. Paisius of Hilendarski"

I, Paisia, hieromonk and proigumen of Hillendarski, collected and wrote, from the Russian simple speeches I translated into the Bulgarian and Slavic simple speeches... and in German land it was more with this intention that I went. There I found Mavrubirov's story about the Serbs and the Bulgarians.

Paisius


Carefully, pure-heartedly, diligently and with great meekness, kindness, restraint, humility, persistence and perseverance, the monk painstakingly began to put the Bulgarian historical puzzle in order, piece by piece of history - monastery transcripts of letters, chroniclers' stories, old faded scrolls, parchments, preserved priceless legends and legends, the Painting Charter of Tsar Ivan Alexander, the Rila Charter of Tsar Ivan Shishman and a number of other documents irretrievably lost today...


The Bulgarians were the most glorious of the entire Slavic race, they were the first to call themselves kings, they were the first to have a patriarch, they were the first to be baptized, they conquered the most land. Thus, of the entire Slavic race, they were the strongest and most revered, and the first Slavic saints shone from the Bulgarian race and language...

Paisius


Slowly and slowly Paisius begins to realize his secret dream!

It's the summer of the 1760s and Slavic-Bulgarian History begins to come true.


Documents from January 25, 1760 in the Spiritual and Historical Center "St. Paisius Hilendarski"
Documents from January 25, 1760 in the Spiritual and Historical Center "St. Paisius Hilendarski"

His diligent and tiring round-the-clock work, as well as the difficult financial situation of "Hilendar", leads to misunderstanding with his brothers, that is why Paisius moves to "Zograf".


Photocopy of the painting draft in the Spiritual-Historical Center "St. Paisius Hilendarski"
Photocopy of the painting draft in the Spiritual-Historical Center "St. Paisius Hilendarski"

It is the summer of 1762. Father Paisius is finishing his life's work!

At last he breathed and said: "The End!

I put a wreath on a new life."

...this work completed, a feat of many years,

the fruit of the will, the fruit of vigilance,

silently devoured half a life—

great life!

From "Paisius"

Ivan Vazov


Barely having finished "Slavic Bulgarian History", Paisius undertook the even more difficult task of spreading his dream, so that it would reach more people and the Bulgarians would understand what kind of indomitable, stubborn, free and dignified people they come from.


And he said to them: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

Gospel of Mark 16:15


Always on the road, on foot, under the burning sun, hungry, under stormy rain and snow, thirsty, but with faith in his soul, with longing in his heart and with his little dream book in his hand, the monk goes around the same Bulgarian people.


And he stops in every home where the fire of faith, hope and love burns and reads.


He read to people!

For the great missionary work of the Christian educators - the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius, for their students, for the Word, for the alphabet created by them, for the great Bulgarian kings - for Khan Asparukh, for Khan Krum, for Simeon, for Samuel, for Asenevtsi, for Kaloyan, for their great battles, for the great Bulgarian territories where the proud Bulgarian race lived - free, rebellious, brave and proud!


Let each of our brothers read, remember,

that the Greeks are cunning, treacherous people,

that we pushed them, and more than once -

and that's why they can't stand it -

and that we had kingdoms and capitals,

and of our kind saints and patricians;

that we too have given something to the world

and read a book to all Slovenes;

and when they call him: "Bulgarinu!" furiously

let him be proud of that name honestly.

Let our brother know that God is great

and that he understands Bulgarian,

that it is a shame to anyone who denies

from his kind and among the Greeks he runs

and his name and God's gift

tossed madly like a creature.

From "Paisius"

Ivan Vazov


And people listened to him!

I wrote it for you, who love your family and the Bulgarian fatherland and like to know about your family and language.

Paisius


They listened to these words with their mouths open and their hands on their hearts and gasped in disbelief at what they heard!


One of the votive crosses on Cape Castro in the "Vasiliko" district of the city of Tsarevo, through which you can see the lighthouse and the rising sun over the sea

And inside them - in the heart, in the soul something awakened!

Something immeasurably matured!

Something huge!

Something indestructible!


The holy Christian Spirit has awakened among the Bulgarians!


Transcripts

Transcribe this story and pay, have it transcribed for you by those who know how to write, and keep it from disappearing!

Paisius


The First Sophronius Transcript is also known as the First Kotlen Transcript. It was created in 1765 and is symbolically considered the beginning of the Bulgarian revival.


The second transcript is the Samokov transcript by Pope Aleksi Velkovich Popovich, created in 1771.


Next came the Rila transcript, also known as Nikiforov and Drinovski from 1772. A cloister was completed in Rila by the monk Nikifor according to the Samokov copy. The fact that this transcript was in the possession of Marin Drinov is interesting.


Next comes the Zheravne transcript, created around 1772.


Second Sofroniev, also Second Kotlensky Transcript - from 1781.


Kovanluk transcript from 1783, written by priest Stoyan from the village of Kovanluk, Veliko Tarnovo.


The Deer transcript is Doino's Grammar from 1784 and is very original, so I will give it special attention!


Doino Grammaticus did not copy Paisius' text literally, but was selective, retelling certain passages, adding his own original comments, often embellished with patriotic sentiments.


Dojno Stanyuv Robovski was born in the middle of the 18th century in the village of Drenta, made up of hamlets near the Veselina river, and a descendant of Stoyan Robceto, rescued from captivity by a detachment of janissaries who passed through the village during disturbances in the vast Ottoman Empire, somewhere near Elena .


In 1784 he went to Kotel and made a copy of the Second Sophronius copy, and after returning to Elena, he took the name Gramatik and was ordained a priest around 1786.

During the Kardjalian attack on Elena in the spring of 1800, Pope Doino Gramatik led the population in its defense. In the same year, he was part of a three-member delegation that went to Constantinople to ask for permission to build a fortress in Elena. In the newly built "St. Nicholas" church, on a specially prepared stone tablet-chronicle in 1805, he immortalized the event and noted that the church was built on the foundations of the old one, after it was burned down by Agarian robbers.


Some later transcripts follow - Rila reprint from 1825; two transcripts from 1828 and 1845 from Sopot; Kharitonova and Gabrovska amendment.


Bansk transcript by Konstantin Chuchulain from 1882 in Spiritual and Historical Center "St. Paisius Hilendarski"
Bansk transcript by Konstantin Chuchulain from 1882 in Spiritual and Historical Center "St. Paisius Hilendarski"

All-Bulgarian transcript in the Spiritual-Historical Center "St. Paisii Hilendarski"
All-Bulgarian transcript in the Spiritual-Historical Center "St. Paisii Hilendarski"

The rest is history...


Paisius's draft

Today, the draft created by Paisius is preserved and kept in the place of its writing - the library of "Zograph" in Mount Athos, Mount Athos.


For a short time, these originals were even in Bulgaria.


In 1984, the Bulgarian intelligence services replaced the original draft with a copy and exported it to Bulgaria, as they were convinced of the bad intentions of Greece and the Greek monastic community towards the text during the last years of the Cold War. The replaced draft was discovered in Bulgaria in the late 1990s.


In 1998, on the initiative of the head of state Petar Stoyanov, it was returned to "Zograf" again.


Land from the Zograf Monastery "St. George" in the Spiritual-Historical Center "St. Paisii Hilendarski"
Land from the Zograf Monastery "St. George" in the Spiritual-Historical Center "St. Paisii Hilendarski"

The end of Paisius's journey

Until recently, it was assumed that Father Prohigumen Kyr Paisiy died in 1773 on the way to Holy Mountain in a monastery in the village of Ambellino ("St. George" in the village of Loznitsa, and later a neighborhood of today's Asenovgrad).


According to studies of documents from the archives of "Hilendar" and Sremski Karlovtsi, another hypothesis appears - he died when he was on a taxi in the "Kuch" metoch of Hilendar, located along the lower reaches of the Struma River, on the right bank of Lake Tachinos.


The grave of Paisius Hilendarski in the courtyard of the church "Flowers Nicholas the Wonderworker" in the town of Samokov

During one of my visits to Samokov, I visited the incredibly beautiful church "St. Nicholas the Wonderworker".


Entering from the east, right next to the apse is the grave of the first Exarch Metropolitan of Samokov - Dositei. He is also the last, since after his death the Samokov Diocese was closed and joined to the Sofia Diocese.


Next to Dositei's grave there is a symbolic tombstone of the author of "History of Slavonic Bulgaria", which you should also visit.


Here is an extremely interesting fact - during the construction of a house, east of today's church fence, a grave was discovered in which a medallion was found. The name "Paisius" is read on the medallion.


This very interesting find, together with the note from the condicion from "Hilendar" dated July 3, 1798, in which it is reported that Hieromonk Hadji Paisiy died and was buried in Samokov, make the city the main contender for the place where the Hillendar monk found eternal rest .


But the Paisius way does not end there!

At a solemn meeting on June 26, 1962, the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church made a decision to canonize the Hilendar hieromonk and pro-hierarch Paisiy as a reverend, and his memory is commemorated on June 19.


Oh, foolish fools!

Why are you ashamed to call yourself Bulgarian and do not read or speak your language?

Or did the Bulgarians not have a kingdom and a state?

For so many years they reigned and were glorious and famous throughout the earth, and many times they exacted tribute from mighty Romans and from wise Greeks. Both tsars and kings gave them their royal daughters as wives in order to have peace and love with the Bulgarian kings.

The Bulgarians were the most glorious of the entire Slavic race, they were the first to call themselves kings, they were the first to have a patriarch, they were the first to be baptized, they conquered the most land. Thus, out of the entire Slavic race, the first Slavic saints were the strongest and most revered, and they shone from the Bulgarian race and language, as I have written about this in this history. And for this, the Bulgarians have testimony from many stories, because everything is true for the Bulgarians, as I have already mentioned.

Paisius


Do you realize the scale of this glorious, illustrious, well-known, eminent, noble, intelligible work?


Do you hear the echo of that moment through the ages?


Did the Hillendar monk manage to wake us up?


Monument to Paisius Hilendarski in the city of Bansko

Сто и двайсет годин... Тъмнини дълбоки!

Тамо вдън горите атонски високи,

убежища скрити от лъжовний мир,

место за молитва, за отдих и мир,

де се чува само ревът беломорски

или вечний шепот на шумите горски,

ил на звона тежкий набожнийят звън,

във скромна килийка, потънала в сън,

един монах тъмен, непознат и бледен

пред лампа жумеща пишеше наведен.

Що драскаше той там умислен, един?

Житие ли ново, нов ли дамаскин,

зафанат от дълго, прекъсван, оставян

и пред кандилото сред нощ пак залавян?

Поличби ли божи записваше там?

Слова ли духовни измисляше сам

за във чест на някой славен чудотворец,

египтянин, елин или светогорец?

Що се той мореше с тоя дълъг труд?

Ил бе философ? Или беше луд?

Или туй канон бе тежък и безумен,

наложен на него от строгий игумен?

Най-после отдъхна и рече: "Конец!

На житие ново аз турих венец."

И той фърли поглед любовен, приветен

към тоз труд довършен, подвиг многолетен,

на волята рожба, на бденьето плод,

погълнал безшумно полвина живот –

житие велико! Заради което

той забрави всичко, дори и небето!

Нивга майка нежна първенеца свой

тъй не е гледала, ни младий герой

първите си лаври, ни поетът мрачен

своят идеал нов, чуден светлозрачен!

и кат някой древен библейски пророк

ил на Патмос дивний пестинника строг,

кога разкривал е въз гладката кожа

тайните на мрака и волята божа,

той фърли очи си разтреперан, бляд

към хаоса тъмний, към звездния свят,

към Бялото море, заспало дълбоко,

и вдигна тез листи, и викна високо:

"От днеска нататък българският род

история има и става народ!"

Нека той познае от мойто писанье,

че голям е той бил и пак ще да стане,

че от славний Будин до светий Атон

бил е припознаван нашият закон.

Нека всякой брат наш да чете, да помни,

че гърците са люде хитри, вероломни,

че сме ги блъскали, и не един път –

и затуй не можат нази търпят –

и че сме имали царства и столици,

и от нашта рода светци и патрици;

че и ний сме дали нещо на светът

и на вси Словене книга да четът;

и кога му викат:"Българину!" бесно,

той да се гордее с това име честно.

Нека наш брат знае, че бог е велик

и че той разбира българский язик,

че е срам за всякой, който се отрича

от своя си рода и при гърци тича

и своето име и божия дар

зафърля безумно като един твар.

Горко вам, безумни, овци заблудени,

със гръцка отрова, що сте напоени,

дето се срамите от вашия брат

и търсите пища в гръцкия разврат,

и ругайте грешно бакини си кости,

и нашите нрави, че те били прости!

Та не вашто племе срам нанася вам,

о, безумни люде, а вий сте му срам!

Четете да знайте, що в стари години

по тез земи славни вършили деди ни,

как със много кралства имали са бран

и била велика българската държава;

как свети Борис се покръстил в Преслава,

как е цар Асен тук храмове градил

и дарове пращал; кой бе Самуил,

дето си изгуби душата във ада,

покори Дурацо и влезе в Елада;

четете и знайте кой бе цар Шишман

и как нашто царство сториха го плян;

кой би Иван Рилски, чийто свети мощи

чудеса се славят до тоя ден йоще;

как се Крум преславний с Никифора би

и из черепа му руйно вино пи

и как Симеон цар угрите прогони

и от Византия приема поклони.

А тоя беше учен, философ велик

и не се срамеше от своя език

и кога нямаше кого да надвива,

той пишеше книги, за да си почива.

Четете и знайте, що съм аз писал,

от много сказанья и книги събрал,

четете, о, братя, да ви се не смеят

и вам чужденците да не се гордеят...

На ви мойта книга, тя е вам завет,

нека де преписва и множи безчет

и пръска по всички поля и долини,

де българин страда, въздиша и гине.

Тя е откровенье, божа благодат –

младий прави мъдър, а стария – млад,

който я прочита няма да се кае,

който знае нея, много ще да знае."

Тъй мълвеше тоз мъж, в килията скрит,

със поглед умислен, в бъдещето впит,

който много бденья, утринни пропусна,

но пачето перо нивга не изпусна

и против канонът и черковний звън –

работи без отдих, почивка и сън.

Тъй мълвеше преди сто и двайсет годин

тоз див Светогорец – за рая негоден,

и фърляше тайно през мрака тогаз

най-първата искра в народната свяст.


"Паисий"

Иван Вазов


And as a finale, my dear friends,

you shouldn't miss a look

the special album with photo moments –

discovered, experienced, captured and shared with you!



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